By law and jurisprudence, Marcos is toast 1

By law and jurisprudence, Marcos is toast

By Buddy Gomez

Posted at Sep 02 2015 09:12 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2015 05:12 AM

Vain attempts to revise the national experience of the Marcos regime, much less erasing it by way of the ridiculously continuing denials of the widow and orphans (children and partisan loyalists) will not alter a whit the judgement of history. It has been writ by democratically legislated law as well as by Supreme Court jurisprudence.

By law and jurisprudence, Marcos is toast 2

After being rescued from public anger, and possibly from a lynching, as a consequence of EDSA 1986, courtesy of a Reagan invitation, travel facilities and initial accommodations, the Marcoses descended upon their Honolulu exile with complaints of political persecution and pitiable destitution. All of a sudden they were poor! And crying about it for all to hear. Without an effort at discouraging offerings of financial aid from supporters, they accepted contributions in cash and in kind from a loving and adoring sector of the Filipino-Hawaiian community. Never denying that they were in fact farthest from ever becoming a charity case, the Marcoses were vocal about wanting to borrow money from almost anyone! In fact, they did attempt. One recalls that on a visit by the late Enrique Zobel of Manila’s Ayala merchant nobility, Marcos attempted to borrow from Enzo $250 Million. They were poor and destitute. There were bills to pay. But Mr Zobel did not abide.

When I served as the Philippine Consul General in Honolulu tasked principally with watching over the Marcoses, I came across and still possess copies of twin documents--then supposedly confidential--signed by and as “Ferdinand Edralin Marcos,” coursed through an intermediary American lawyer, Allen Weinstein. One 3-page letter addressed to President Corazon Aquino and a brief one delineating instructions for Weinstein, referencing the letter to President Cory.

All of a sudden, Marcos had $5 billion! That was the amount contained in the then still secret documents addressed to Weinstein for transmittal to President Corazon C. Aquino, offering the sum of $5 billion. The letter to Weinstein stated that he “would provide the Philippine government with $5 billion of my present assets.” However for some strange reason, evidently known only to Marcos, the letter addressed to President Cory does not mention the $5 billion. Something truly strange, which was never explained. To the Marcos mind, perhaps a built-in escape hatch!

The $5 billion gambit was “a secret bid to trade a large share of his wealth for permission to return to his homeland,” (as reported in Los Angeles Times, 28 July 1988, by reporter Bill Rempel, the same investigative journalist who exposed the “Marcos Diaries,” wherein Marcos lied to himself and lived by those lies!) The humongous monetary offer came at the time when a pending grand jury investigation of fraud and corruption against Marcos and Imelda in New York was fast forthcoming. In any case, the offer was rejected because of the convoluted manner by which it was presented. An absence of trust and a lingering suspicion of serial insincerity. President Cory was quoted by the Malacanang bratpack (an affectionate collective nickname for young journalists of the time) as having said: “Send the $5 billion first, and then we will talk.”

The Guinness Book of World Records has really never officially designated Marcos as the “world’s greatest thief of all time.” But our Supreme Court has confirmed the existence of ill-gotten wealth, while not in its suspected entirety but at least a significant portion of it. In its promulgation dated July 15, 2003, our Supremes speaking unanimously and unequivocally: “The Swiss deposits which were transferred to and are now in escrow at the Philippine National Bank in the estimated amount of US$ 658,175,373.60 as of January 31, 2002, plus interest, are hereby forfeited in favor of the Republic of the Philippines”…… ”In the face of undeniable circumstances and the avalanche of documentary evidence, the respondent Marcoses (meaning Ferdie, Meldy, Imee, Bongbong and Irene---mine) failed to justify the lawful nature of the acquisition of said assets.” Ill-gotten wealth, what else! That amount is the equivalent of more than PhP 30 billion in current foreign exchange terms.

In acknowledgement of Marcos’ Martial Law mayhem, the foregoing sum was in reality the ultimate source of compensation for thousands of Marcos victims and their surviving heirs. (Checks equivalent to $1,000.00 distributed in 2011 are proceeds from a US court settlement of a class action suit judgment against the Marcoses. Another PhP 50,000 per victim, distributed earlier this year, was sourced from the sale of the Claude Monet painting discovered and retrieved from Imelda’s secret hoard.)

And then, there is Republic Act 10368. Known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013. It is a landmark legislation that provides reparation and recognition of victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime. The law intends to “recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary executions, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearances and other gross human rights violations committed during former President Ferdinand Marcos’s time from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986.”

Under this law is created “The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board” charged with the adjudicative process and the settlement of claims from the abused and the aggrieved. The amount of Ten Billion Pesos (PhP10,000,000,000.00) has been set aside as the principal source of the Law’s implementation. The mission statement of the HRV Claims Board is: “Tilting back the scales of Justice--acknowledging the wrongs and healing the wounds of martial law.” Sweet and succinct poetic justice!

In iteration for the benefit of younger Millennials and those of the Filipino Generation Y, mostly an apparently clueless segment of today’s population insofar as Marcos and Martial Law matters go, here is an edification never to be forgotten. They comprise the target audience of the Marcoses for their inundation of social media (YouTube.com, principally) with political propaganda of how great the late dictator’s regime was, with infrastructure accomplishments and claims of a better quality of life. Bongbong is even beginning to brag about it. He says of his father, “history will judge him properly” and “What am I to apologize for?”

READ: Bongbong on Marcos era: What am I to say sorry for?

The gruesome scorecard, in absolute numbers, the undeniable body count of victims of Marcos’ Martial Law shows 3,257 extra-judicial killings, 35,000 torture victims, 70,000 incarcerations and 120,000 victims of arbitrary arrests. The agony of these suffering souls were all caused and occasioned by decrees and issuances of a dictator. (Always remember that Marcos shut down Congress and declared himself the sole lawmaker/lawgiver) The most infamous, feared, detested and scariest of which edicts carried titles such as ASSO (Arrest, Search and Seizure Order, most often signed by Martial Law Administrator Juan Ponce Enrile), Preventive Detention Action (PDA) and Presidential Commitment Order (PCO). We cannot just move on, as some quarters would wish, and be unmindful of our past. Marcos Martial Law must remain this country’s living past!

This is unimpeachable history. Its judgement is final and has been delivered. One is led to wonder if the Department of Education has already mandated and devoted
ample space and importance to this dark and painful episode of Philippine history in relevant textbooks, to defend truth with fervor and vigor ever against the onslaught of shameless lies of the shameless Marcoses.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.